Right before his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, John Kerry famously told his fellow delegates that he was "reporting for duty." It now appears that Mr. Kerry's new post will be at Foggy Bottom, replacing outgoing Secretary of State and former Senate colleague Hillary Clinton.
From my perspective, this is a great pick for a number of reasons:
1) First, I expect little or no major opposition to this nomination. Not only will Kerry benefit from the traditional "senatorial courtesy" (a term to describe how Senators usually give their current or former colleagues an easy confirmation process out of respect for the institution), but Kerry is also a known commodity on Capitol Hill; as a long-time member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (and its current chairman), he is certainly qualified for the post and everyone in the Senate knows that. He has a knack for being a team player and for building personal relationships that will serve him well in his new role.
2) He's not Susan Rice. No matter her qualifications, Senate Republicans, especially Senator John McCain, made it very clear over the previous weeks that Rice's less-than-straight forward media appearances about the Benghazi debacle put her credibility in question. With the scathing new report issued earlier this week about the State Department's conduct in the lead up to the Benghazi fiasco, and with the announcement of a new task force on gun control as well as the ongoing battle over the impending fiscal cliff, the White House will appreciate an easy confirmation. A Susan Rice nomination would have only fueled more flames on Capitol Hill in an otherwise already hyper-partisan and contentious political atmosphere.
3) With Kerry moving down the street to State, this will leave an open vacancy for his Senate seat. Rumors are already beginning to swirl about who his possible replacement could be. I would guess that the Obama Administration secretly wants Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to put forward his name for the gig. President Obama and Governor Patrick are known to be very good friends, both politically and personally, and with Patrick already announcing that he has no plans to seek a third-term as governor in 2014, this could be a perfect opportunity to advance the career of a rising star in the Democratic Party.